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Article: Position Battle: Catcher

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:56 PM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...nalysis-Catcher

#2 mike wants wins

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 10:39 PM

Find out what the youngsters can do, that is what this year should be about. Play pinto.

#3 Seth Stohs

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 10:54 PM

At Twins Fest, Terry Ryan was pretty much saying that Suzuki would start. I'm sure there'll be some competition. However, the fact that Pinto was shut down from Winter Ball with the shoulder issue, and that he's been slowed in the first week of spring training by back problems can't help.

I also think that we need to temper our hopes for what Pinto can be offensively. I think he can be pretty solid. He's got a good approach at the plate. But, even if he is the catcher, the offensive production from the catcher spot will be greatly reduced.

#4 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 11:52 PM

I don't think there's a way that Pinto starts the season with the big league ball club. TR made it pretty clear that his motorcycle man is the starter. I could see Pinto gettig called up by the end of May/June if he's whacking the heck out of the ball in AAA, but for a guy with so little seasoning at AAA, he could use the games behind the plate to work on his defensive skills before coming up to be a big league player. No need for him to be up to start the season if he's not playing everyday.

#5 Top Gun

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 04:45 AM

Mauer has got to count as the 3rd catcher on the team. There is no reason that he can't catch a few games.

#6 BigTrane

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:07 AM

"...the Twins are going to be looking at a massive offensive drop-off from the position's previous tenant."

A little context is called for here, I think.
1) Who, on this year's FA market for C was going to be an upgrade over Mauer?
2) If we're hoping for an improved offensive production starting at this position, we're looking at the wrong position- there are plenty of other, better suspects.
3) Gotta figure when the Twins actually do sign an FA, they're going to get their money's worth and play him, not sit him. Even if it is only a couple of mil.

Best way to look at this deal is to remember it's only 1 year, and that Suzuki won't be a defensive liability. Anything he adds in terms of mentoring Pinto is a huge long-term plus.

Put it this way: Suzuki can see the door already, no matter how much Gardy loves his bunting abilities. Suzuki is insurance against a repeat of the Hicks experience.

#7 Oxtung

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:31 AM

I think the Twins should do whatever is best for developing Pinto. If that includes starting the season at Rochester, OK. I do think however that Pinto should get at least half a season as a starting MLB catcher allowing him to gain the necessary experience. This year is a lost cause. Hopefully the Twins do what they can so next year isn't as well.

#8 Nick Nelson

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:23 AM

1) Who, on this year's FA market for C was going to be an upgrade over Mauer?

No one's talking about improving the offense at catcher because you're not going to get a better hitter than Mauer. We're talking about degrees of downgrades and Suzuki is a massive one. The drop-off probably (hopefully) would not be nearly as dramatic with Pinto.

3) Gotta figure when the Twins actually do sign an FA, they're going to get their money's worth and play him, not sit him. Even if it is only a couple of mil.

They'd be getting their money's worth by using him as a backup. $2.75M is a veteran backup's salary.

#9 Tibs

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:28 AM

Mauer has got to count as the 3rd catcher on the team. There is no reason that he can't catch a few games.


I can think of three reasons off the top of my head that he shouldn't catch a few games. His contract is $23,000,0000. He is easily our best offensive player and best player overall. He is one foul tip away to the head from getting another concussion and being out who knows how long. There's no point in risking that. Joe Mauer is a first baseman now.

I wouldn't mind seeing Pinto start in AAA because I don't think he will be the starting catcher to begin the season.
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#10 pierre75275

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:33 AM

I wish the Twins would have been able to pick up AJ. I understand he wants another ring and all that, but our team, defense and offense would be so much improved with him on it.

#11 Monkeypaws

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:45 AM

Makes sense to me to start Pinto in AAA. Play him every day and see what how he performs.

If Suzuki really underperforms at the plate, then you make the move and promote Pinto to starter, Suzuki to backup, and Fryer or Hermann to AAA.

Signing Suzuki was just the right amount of insurance - cheap one year contract, gives them a proven MLB catcher, but he doesn't block anybody who might do better.

#12 Nick Nelson

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:52 AM

If Suzuki really underperforms at the plate, then you make the move and promote Pinto to starter, Suzuki to backup, and Fryer or Hermann to AAA.

The question is this: what happens if Suzuki underperforms and Pinto scuffles at Triple-A? That's what really worries me about this position, and it's not exactly an unlikely scenario.

#13 Monkeypaws

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:59 AM

The question is this: what happens if Suzuki underperforms and Pinto scuffles at Triple-A? That's what really worries me about this position, and it's not exactly an unlikely scenario.


Yes, there is that possibility as well. They'd probably just suck it up with Suzuki at that point, unless Fryer can hit.

#14 Dave T

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:10 AM

I don't get this at all:

"It's not out of the question Pinto could take the starting job right out of the gates if he tears it up over the next month"

We have had catchers before whose primary contribution was with the bat. Remember Matthew LeCroy? Why are you promoting a catcher just because he can hit?

#15 Miraclemat

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:40 AM

I don't get this at all:

"It's not out of the question Pinto could take the starting job right out of the gates if he tears it up over the next month"

We have had catchers before whose primary contribution was with the bat. Remember Matthew LeCroy? Why are you promoting a catcher just because he can hit?


Based on last years games that Pinto had with the Twins, he 'held his own" behind the plate. Suzuki is no Butera and maybe a "slight" upgrade defensively over Pinto. If they are very similar defensively...give me the guy who you think will carry a bigger bat.

#16 UCLA_YANKEE_COLA

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 02:17 PM

I don't get this at all:

"It's not out of the question Pinto could take the starting job right out of the gates if he tears it up over the next month"

We have had catchers before whose primary contribution was with the bat. Remember Matthew LeCroy? Why are you promoting a catcher just because he can hit?


Seeing him last year and reading some scouting reports makes it pretty clear that Josmil Pinto is 10 times the defensive catcher that Matt LeCroy was. LeCroy literally made his manager cry because his defense was so bad. Seriously. I'm laughing as I type this. His defense was so bad his manager, a hall of fame bad ass, actually cried.

#17 Lonestar

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 03:26 PM

Yes, there is that possibility as well. They'd probably just suck it up with Suzuki at that point, unless Fryer can hit.

Fryer has already proven he can't hit.

#18 kab21

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 05:30 PM

I have expected them to go with a 60/40 split in playing time at catcher so I think both of them make the squad and eventually Pinto works up to starting 75% of the time.

Suzuki imo was signed to break Pinto in slowly and provide a reasonable alternative if he flops his 1st time around. And catching 2-3 times/week is not a big issue in the development of an almost 25 yr old. But it does take the big pressure off of him.

#19 DocBauer

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:22 PM

I have no problem if Suzuki is the man behind the plate right out of the gate. Work Pinto in, let everyone sort of settle in, keep rotating Pinto in, (maybe even a few games at DH for his bat and to keep him sharp), but slowly work Pinto in more and more as the primary.

Suzuki is here for a reason. To bring experience and stability and some mentoring. But he's not here as a long term solution. And in this transition year, but I believe with greater potential and expectations than the past couple of seasons, it would be foolish and baseball-criminal not to go with the younger, higher potential and better bat youngster as the primary sooner rather than later. Anything else, barring injury setback, would be a waste of time.

#20 Riverbrian

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 07:00 PM

I'm a Pinto Fan... His defense doesn't freak me out. He'll be alright and I'm a big catcher D guy.

I'm just in caution mode over a nice September. Parmelee had a nice September once as well. I'd like him to hit well at AAA a bit before giving him the reins.
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#21 Shane Wahl

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:35 AM

I would have just gone with Pinto and Herrmann and been done with it.

#22 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:44 AM

I have expected them to go with a 60/40 split in playing time at catcher so I think both of them make the squad and eventually Pinto works up to starting 75% of the time.

Suzuki imo was signed to break Pinto in slowly and provide a reasonable alternative if he flops his 1st time around. And catching 2-3 times/week is not a big issue in the development of an almost 25 yr old. But it does take the big pressure off of him.


This is my thinking as well.

#23 jmlease1

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:46 AM

I'd prefer to have Pinto be the starter with Suzuki the backup, and hopefully by midseason that's the case. I expect Pinto to eventually be an asset at the plate, but I think it is going to take a little time; Sept's numbers are wildly unrealistic. But we know Gardy would prefer to have a good defensive player with a crap bat over a plus bat and iffy defense.

#24 cmathewson

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 10:02 AM

No one's talking about improving the offense at catcher because you're not going to get a better hitter than Mauer. We're talking about degrees of downgrades and Suzuki is a massive one.


Suzuki is not replacing Mauer at the plate, he's replacing Morneau.

Morneau's OPS+ the last three years: 70, 112, 103
Suzuki's OPS+ the lst three years: 89, 67, 73

Still a big downgrade. The hope is it can be made up with the combination of Pinto and a stronger and healthier Mauer.
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#25 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 11:07 AM

If everyone else does their job, Suzuki (and Florimon, and ...) doesn't have to hit.

#26 TheLeviathan

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 11:32 AM

Morneau's OPS+ the last three years: 70, 112, 103
Suzuki's OPS+ the lst three years: 89, 67, 73

Still a big downgrade.


I would call that a pretty massive downgrade. It's the area of this team's offense people don't seem to understand.

Especially when you are adding into it that a "healthier Mauer" will have an impact. That's a talking point among many on the board here that just doesn't hold water. The time Mauer missed was filled by a player (Pinto) that outhit Mauer! (And by a fairly significant margin too) So it's not just the downgrade from Morneau to Suzuki - it's the likelihood that we'll also see a dip in the combined performance we got from our catchers last year. It's a double downgrade and quite possibly a massive one at that.

#27 mike wants wins

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 11:53 AM

Suzuki has been 28th and 27th in catcher war (espn version) over the last two years.....why would you play him and not Pinto? Why not give the young guy a shot?
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#28 jokin

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 12:00 PM

Suzuki has been 28th and 27th in catcher war (espn version) over the last two years.....why would you play him and not Pinto? Why not give the young guy a shot?


3 possible reasns (in no particular order):


1) The Twins traded away their only 2 starting CF options before 2013, they ended up paying a steep price. Suzuki is an insurance policy.

2) By signing Suzuki, they now have a possible Plan A and Plan B with Pinto-
(A) give him the starting job if he proves healthy enough and ready enough.
(B) give him another 60 days in AAA to get healthy enough and more ready.

3) Gardy is only in his comfort zone with at least one plodding, no-hit catcher to call upon at a momemt's notice.

Edited by jokin, 27 February 2014 - 12:15 PM.


#29 cmathewson

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 12:13 PM

I would call that a pretty massive downgrade. It's the area of this team's offense people don't seem to understand.

Especially when you are adding into it that a "healthier Mauer" will have an impact. That's a talking point among many on the board here that just doesn't hold water. The time Mauer missed was filled by a player (Pinto) that outhit Mauer! (And by a fairly significant margin too) So it's not just the downgrade from Morneau to Suzuki - it's the likelihood that we'll also see a dip in the combined performance we got from our catchers last year. It's a double downgrade and quite possibly a massive one at that.



So you don't buy the claim that Mauer will stay healthier and stronger by moving to first base? That's what I was saying. And I fail to see how comparing his lack of health at catcher last has any bearing to this year.
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#30 DocBauer

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 12:22 PM

I would have just gone with Pinto and Herrmann and been done with it.


What I think we see next season, more than likely. Not was I opposed to doing so this season after we stick out on AJP. However, I like splitting up the youngsters for more consistent AB's for Herrmann, as well as an experienced, current backstop to help mentor.